The ABC’s of Merchandising Metrics

As partners we have over 60 years of combined experience in the apparel business - in wholesale and retail,  private label and branded, specialty store and department store, merchandising & design, sourcing and operations, best sellers and markdowns.  USA and Asia.

Our experience is broad and deep and we've developed our own set of pressure points and merchandising metrics through which we evaluate the business.  

Merchandising Metrics is not about the pure creativity of design. It isn't about the pure science of number crunching.  

It is about the grounding nature of data and the optimism of design.  

It is about the skillful blending of the two processes to achieve a brand presence and a business narrative that is both emotionally engaging and profitable.  

It is understanding that it takes both left-brain and right-brain thinking to tell the whole story.  

Below are some of the pressure points and metrics we look at.  For a complete read of the full document, please give us a call or drop us an email.  We look forward to working with you.

  • Aesthetics & Attitude - The look, the feel, the point of view, the first impression.  The first opportunity to engage the customer emotionally.
  • Color Management - Content and emphasis in a given moment, and how color flows and evolves with the seasons.
  • Item & Classification Balance/Risk Mitigation -The balance and relationship between high risk and low risk product.
  • Brand Promise -  What are the 5-7 words or 2 sentences that define your brand?  What is the brand's core reason for being?  Is it sufficiently focused to serve as the course correcting compass it needs to be?  
  • Consistency - Keeping the Promise…(Promise = one word definition for brand.)
  • Dosage - How much is enough...really…??? 
  • Emotions - We are in the business of managing emotions.  People feel faster than they think.  How do people feel about your brand?
  • Fashion - Highest contribution to differentiation and Brand Promise AND highest risk…erratic and unpredictable financial ROI at the style level.   But obviously jugular to the Aesthetic & Attitude and the Brand Promise...so, Pressure Test.
  • Insanity - With all due respect to the original author of this pearl of wisdom, Insanity is NOT repeating the same behavior over and over and expecting a different outcome.   That's stubbornInsanity is KNOWING that there are alternative behaviors to achieve different outcomes and STILL repeating old behaviors.
  • Key Items - Seasonal Key Items.  More novelty and risk than Essentials.  Less novelty and risk than Fashion.
  • Pressure Test - The process of challenging the value-adding role of every component of the business.        Weighing the Risk/Return quotient for all the moving parts.  It's not a comfortable process.  It requires actual Listening & Learning skills.  It requires the right questions at the right moments.
  • Risk Mitigation - Be more right on more sku’s for longer periods of time.  Be less wrong for shorter periods of time on a narrower range of sku's.   
  • Scarcity-  Create it by not overbuying fashion and novelty.  Sell out of something…often.   Practice the art of the unexpected.  LIMITED EDITION.  Manage scarcity by planning the sell-out and planning the flow behind it.  The customer can be trained to wait…or buy now and not experience FOMO…fear of missing out.
  • Unique - What’s unique about your brand…really…???
  • ZZZZZZZ - If you hear this, or crickets, from your customers or staff, start over at "A". 
 Each level of risk has a role.  It's all about the right balance and FLOW.  Shelf life of low risk items versus shelf life of high risk items.

Each level of risk has a role.  It's all about the right balance and FLOW.  Shelf life of low risk items versus shelf life of high risk items.